Use this devo as you are able, in whole or in part. Don’t feel compelled to read it all. Simply read and meditate upon whatever catches your attention. The goal is enjoying time with God through His Word and in prayer. Questions about the devotional elements?
Call to Prayer
By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8)
Prayer of Confession
Confession is formative. It trains us to recognize the ways our hearts have become de-formed and how Christ is at work bringing redemption in our lives. Pray with this in mind.
Father, we are far too easily pleasedwith the limitations of this world instead of enjoying the limitless blessings that come from you.
We have sinned times without number, and have been guilty of pride and unbelief. We cling too tightly to our selfish ambitions and earthly possessions while neglecting to seek you in our daily lives.
Our sins and shortcomings present us with a list of accusations, but we thank you that they will not stand against us, for all have been laid on Christ. Help us to approach your throne of grace with confidence,so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Amen.
Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.
This reading plan will help you to develop the habit of being in God’s Word each morning and evening. Come to this time with expectation. Expect God to reveal himself to you. Expect that he delights in you being there, even when you’ve wandered away. Growing a spiritual habit is a slow, patient process. So be kind to yourself as you grow!
Readings are hyperlinked. Simply hover over the passage or click Morning/Evening Reading (email version).
Praying the Psalms: Read slowly. Take note of words and phrases. Bring them before the Lord in prayer and personalize the passage as you pray.
NT Context: Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of New Testament writers, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the religious establishment of the day: women, common laborers (sheepherders), the racially different (Samaritans), the poor. He will not countenance religion as a club. As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on life with no hope of gaining entrance (and who of us hasn’t felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: First, God. God is the subject of life. God is foundational for living. If we don’t have a sense of the primacy of God, we will never get it right, get life right, get our lives right. Not God at the margins; not God as an option; not God on the weekends. God at center and circumference; God first and last; God, God, God. Genesis gets us off on the right foot. Genesis pulls us into a sense of reality that is God-shaped and God-filled. It gives us a vocabulary for speaking accurately and comprehensively about our lives, where we come from and where we are going, what we think and what we do, the people we live with and how to get along with them, the troubles we find ourselves in and the blessings that keep arriving. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) from Sunday’s sermon. Use it to reflect upon the ways Christ has been working in your life this week. Makes a great midday reflection, or group discussion guide. Follow along with our Philippians Reading Plan + Study Guide as we all read Philippians every day this summer.
Isaiah assembled an impressive listof charges against those who, he said, were provoking the Lord to anger: all manner of religious defection and disloyalty, abhorrent practices, and, believe it or not, spiritual snobbery and elitism (vv. 2–5).Yet, remarkably, when all comes to all, none of these things are mentioned when the sword arrives to inflict judgment and sin issues in death (v. 12).
The real problem, the ‘killing’ sin, is to have failed to listen to the Word of God: he called and spoke; they refused to respond or hear. How did that voice come to them? Was it in the preaching and writing of the prophets? Was it in the instruction of the priests? Was it the careful counsel of the Wise? (cf., 30:8–11; Jer. 18:18; Mal. 2:7.)
Undoubtedly so, and their cardinal sin, the final nail in their coffin, the sin that could not be overlooked, was, as Amos put it (Amos 2:4), spurning the teaching of the Lord, and failing to keep his commandments.
The people of God have always been marked out by possession of the Word of God, his revealed truth, and the transition from their very different circumstances to our own day is obvious and easy.
The deadly sin of the Lord’s people is neglect of his Word – the Bible set aside, or doubted, or half-believed, or denigrated, or left as a closed book gathering dust. How it hurts the Lord when we let a day start without opening the Book (Isa. 50:4)! What loss to us and damage to our souls when the Word of God has not been hidden in the heart to guard us against sin (Ps. 119:11)!
Here is a lover who gets a letter from his beloved and says, ‘Oh, I can’t be bothered with that!’ Imagine the feelings of the beloved on finding all those love-letters, oh yes, carefully kept, and, yes indeed, tied round with red ribbon, but the envelopes never opened (Isa. 29:11).
What made the people of Berea ‘more noble’ in Acts 17:11? They received the Word; they searched the Scriptures daily. Here indeed is true Christian nobility!
Evening Prayer of Examen
Where did you move with or feel close to Jesus today?
Where did you resist or feel far from Jesus today?
Where is Jesus leading you tomorrow? Ask for joy as you follow him.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)